Spiritually Delighting Jwalamukhi….
Jwalamukhi temple located in the Himalayan foothills of the Kangra District in Himachal Pradesh is one such place that had been always spiritually refreshing for me, although the number of visits to this amazing temple had been only two.
The Temple courtyard
The aura of this temple really fascinates me both from its religious importance being one of the 51 Shakti Peeths of Goddess Durga as well as being an amazing feat of mother nature. The divine pit with the eternal flames spells the blessings of Goddess Durga for her devotees. Yet from the scientific perspective it could be considered as the nature’s most rare, myterious and prized creation. Legend indicates that, when Goddess Sati’s divine body was consumed into flames and divided into 51 parts her tongue fell in the foothills of the Himalayas. Devotees believe that till then the fire in the holy pit had been burning eternally blessing the known world and millions of people through ages and time to come.
The main temple housing the Divine Flames
The main temple housing the divine pit is rectangular in shape with a gilded dome. It is surrounded by a large paved compound and a central mansion. The temple complex is surrounded by several shops selling puja items, halwais/sweet-meats, food items and mementos.
The long ques of devotees…
The temple had been well known historically since the Mahabharata era. During the Mughal era, emperor Akbar visited this Holy Shrine and built a Golden umbrella over the holy pit.
Umbrella donated by Emperor Akbar
Later on Raja Ranjit Singh from Punjab ensured the proper preservation and restoration of the temple. People are of the opinion that the gilded domes were made by the Raja himself. In my latest visit to the temple with family I was fascinated by the display of the famous Golden umbrella of emperor Akbar which is still preserved in the temple complex. I was amazed to find devotees from various religious communities tirelessly standing for hours in the serpentine ques leading to the temple. In my opinion the temple still stands as the symbol of a unique religious harmony that represents the true spirit of an united India.
How to reach Jwalamukhi
- From Delhi Kashmiri Gate, ISBT, one may board a HRTC Volvo Bus going to Dharamshala (departure 7pm) and may reach Jwalaji (425Km from Delhi) early in the morning.
- From Pathankot railway station Jwalaji is a 2 hour 10 mins drive covering approximately 120KM
- One can also reach Jwalaji from Gaggal Airport, Dharamshala in a one and half hour drive by taxi (44KM)
Roadmap from Pathankot to Jwalamukhi (Courtesy: Google Maps)
Boarding & staying
As the darshan often becomes tedious due to heavy rush particularly during festivals like Navaratri, Dushera, Kali Puja, it is suggested that devotees might need to stay back at Jwalaji. Although there are several lodges and guest houses in and around the temple, yet Hotel Jwalaji (from HPTDC) could be recommended for secure and comfortable stay.
Photography: Indranil Mutsuddi